What positive and negative qualities does Daru possess?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Daru, a Frenchman who has been born in and lives in Algeria, has ambivalent feelings towards both the French colonial government and the people of Algeria. For, while he feels sympathetic toward the children whom he teaches and leaves out food for them when the weather keeps them home, he has yet been raised in a fashion that differs from their lives. In addition, this story demonstrates what Camus felt was the Absurd: "The absurd is not in man or in the world, but in their presence together... it is the only bond uniting them."

Here are some of his personal qualities:

Positive Traits

  • Daru is a caring schoolteacher who worries that the families of his pupils will miss their ration of grain since the children have been sent home because of the inclement weather. So, he leaves some grain in the schoolhouse in case they come.
  • He is very self-sufficient
  • He acts humanely to the Arab prisoner. When he brings tea to the old gendarme Balducci and to the Arab, he unties the prisoner.
  • When Balducci gets ready to depart, he goes over to the prisoner in order to retie his hands; however, Daru asks him not to do this, saying he will not be responsible for the prisoner.
  • He tells Balducci that he will not turn over the prisoner because he remains neutral in a conflict that is not political or relative to the Colonial system of justice. Thus, in this "absurd" bonding, Daru allows the Arab freedom of choice: He can decide whether he will meet up with another tribe and be taken in, or whether he will go to the French post and be submitted to European justice.

Negative Traits

  • Daru is disrespectful to Balducci in his non-compliance with the European justice system under which the gendarme works.
  • Daru is not careful about protecting himself the night that the prisoner stays with him.
  • Daru does not acquire enough knowledge of the Arab prisoner to determine whether or not he should allow the man to make his own decision or to turn him over to the European authorities.
  • He is disrespectful to Balducci, who has considered him a friend by stating that he will disobey his orders, and also by refusing without benefit of much information about the prisoner.
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